Gram-scale synthesis of graphene-like foam from low cost precursors is reported as a support material for platinum in fuel cell cathodes. The graphene-like foam was produced by combustion of sodium ethoxide, followed by washing and heat treatment in various gases. The BET surface area is higher than 1500 m2/g, although the material is highly defective. These defects result in an excellent distribution of platinum nanoparticles on the surface. The electrochemical performance of the resulting electrocatalysts are characterized using cyclic voltammetry and linear sweep voltammetry techniques, which reveal that this Pt-decorated graphene has large electrochemical surface area (101 m2/g) and high mass activity for the oxygen reduction reaction (176 A/gPt), making this graphene-like foam a potentially useful catalyst support for use in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.
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